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Reading Machiavelli$
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John P. McCormick

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183503

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183503.001.0001

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Scandalous Writings, Dubious Readings, and the Virtues of Popular Empowerment

Scandalous Writings, Dubious Readings, and the Virtues of Popular Empowerment

(p.207) Summation Scandalous Writings, Dubious Readings, and the Virtues of Popular Empowerment
Reading Machiavelli

John P. McCormick

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter entertains the idea of Niccolò Machiavelli possibly dismissing Leo Strauss, J.G.A. Pocock, Quentin Skinner, and even Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in much the same manner that he disdained “the writers” who comprised the Western tradition of ancient and medieval political thought—all of whom he considered pusillanimous propagandists for the enduring power of wealthy elites. Machiavelli often exposed the powerful forces operating throughout intellectual history that disparaged the political judgment of the people, hence prompting his own defiant, often uproarious, distancing of himself from that tradition. In this sense, the book's efforts to contest the influential interpretations of Machiavelli offered by Rousseau, the Straussian school, and the Cambridge School were intended to serve as a Machiavellian critique of Machiavelli scholarship itself.

Keywords:   Niccolò Machiavelli, Leo Strauss, J.G.A. Pocock, Quentin Skinner, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, medieval political thought, Western tradition, wealthy elites, people

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